Large U.S. retail trade companies during the first quarter of this year scored nearly a 4 percent gain in sales, but their after-tax profits plummeted, new U.S. Census Bureau data show.
After-tax profits of U.S. retail corporations with assets of $50 million or more were down 11.5 percent during the first three months of this year, to $14.6 billion from $16.5 billion during the same period last year, according to bureau data released June 16. The quarter’s after-tax profits also were down from $25.7 billion during last year’s fourth quarter, which was aided by holiday sales.
Affecting the after-tax profits in particular was an increase in the provision for current and deferred domestic income taxes, which during this year’s first quarter totaled $11.7 billion, up 42.7 percent from $8.2 billion a year earlier, the bureau said.
However, sales, receipts and operating revenues among retail corporations meeting the $50 million threshold during the first quarter were up 3.6 percent, to $625.9 billion from $603.9 billion a year earlier, but were down $48.6 billion from the holidays-assisted $674.5 billion recorded in the fourth quarter.
Seasonally adjusted sales of U.S. retail trade corporations with assets totaling at least $50 million totaled $639.6 billion, down 0.5 percent from $643 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, but up 3.7 percent from the $616.9 billion during last year’s first quarter, the Census Bureau said. Last’s year fourth quarter seasonally adjusted sales were up 4.9 percent from $612.7 billion in Q4 2012.
The annual rate of profit on stockholders’ equity at the end of March was 11.78 percent after taxes, down from 14.01 percent a year earlier and from 20.73 percent during last year’s fourth quarter. The annual rate of profit on total assets was 4.66 percent after taxes during the first quarter, down from 5.54 percent a year earlier and from 8.22 percent during last year’s fourth quarter.
The bureau bases its report data on quarterly financial reports from approximately 600 U.S. corporations. It estimates the data from a sample survey and are subject to sampling and nonsampling errors, which occur because only a subset of the entire population is measured.